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Caused the Big Bang

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In-universe revelation of the Big Bang's origin.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Omeganian on Sep 27th 2013 at 4:42:21 AM
Last Edited By:
Arivne on Jun 12th 2017 at 2:54:26 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

The Big Bang. The start of the Universe. Scientist have many theories about what it was. But here comes The Reveal... it was the scientists who made it. Or an accident. Maybe even the very protagonists of the story.

Part of the Historical In-Joke and Reality Retcon. Compare Beethoven Was an Alien Spy, Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs. Tends to involve a Stable Time Loop. Subtrope of Real Event, Fictional Cause. Can be considered a subtrope of Creation Myth - well, except that this is usually in-universe reality rather than myth.


Examples

Comic Books

  • Imperiex of the DCU, a hive minded mechanical entity, saw its purpose as being the "hollowing" of the universe, destroying the flawed creation and remaking it in a new Big Bang. Ironically, the flaw it detected in the universe was itself, and a massive cooperative effort managed to throw him into the past where he in fact became the Big Bang in the first place, via a Stable Time Loop, a fact which Imperiex realizes the moment before it dies. Also, it is stated that the reason there is a multiverse is that a scientist decided to view the Big Bang and disrupted it that way.
  • Marvel Universe. At the end of the Secret Wars II series the energy of the Beyonder is shunted out of our universe and becomes a Big Bang, thus creating a new universe.

Literature

  • The Ur-Example seems to be The Accursed Galaxy (1935) by Edmond Hamilton, where it turns out the reason the universe expands is that a race of Energy Beings once faced the disease of life spreading among the planets of the original supergalaxy, and had no choice but to spin it apart. Not quite a bang, but then, the term wasn't coined until over a decade later.
  • Isaac Asimov
    • The Gods Themselves has the heroes stating at the end that the way they are draining the energy from another universe (which is all a single star) will eventually cause a Big Bang by making the star go supernova. It is unknown whether it happened in our universe, since spontaneous leakages are quite possible.
    • The short story "The Instability" ends with two time travelers realizing they didn't travel 27 million years to their own future, but into the primordial chaos of some dimension. And since they are here, they are introducing an instability, meaning... Oh Shi-
  • A possible case in A. E. van Vogt's The Weapon Shops of Isher, where a man travels through time, accumulating energy the further he is away from his time. In the end, he is at a time before the planets formed, and is tired of it, so he releases the energy (although it is not stated that outright it is actually the Big Bang that was created that way).
  • The Star Diaries has an episode where scientists are trying to send into the past a particle which will become the Big Bang (they are also trying to imbue it with the properties to create a better universe... doesn't really work out).
  • In Harry Harrison's Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers, it is revealed at the end that the ultimate weapon works by sending an area of space to the past in order to create the Big Bang. Naturally, It Only Works Once.
  • In God's Debris, the event known as the Big Bang was actually God killing Himself to experience the only thing He hasn't yet known—His own death. The entire post-BB universe is actually the eponymous debris of God, i.e. matter and probability.
  • Soul Music. The first thing ever heard in the universe was "One. Two. One, two, three, four." and then the big bang happened, thanks to "Music with Rocks In", the main theme of the book the music is alive, and wants to be played, no matter the cost to the player. This is in contradiction to earlier books, but Discworld is famously loose with its origin stories.

Live-Action TV

  • Doctor Who:
    • In the two-parter, "The Pandorica Opens" and "The Big Bang", the Doctor is forced to restart the entire universe after cracks in reality and timey-wimey paradoxes have made it so that everything never was, using the restoration beam from inside the Pandorica and the energy from the exploding TARDIS.
    • In "Terminus", it is revealed that the Big Bang was triggered by a time-travelling space ship that was forced to dump unstable fuel into the void before going back up the timeline. The fuel exploded, triggering the Big Bang.
  • Lucifer claims that the "Big Bang" was his parents having sex. His mother seems to support that suggestion.

Western Animation

Feedback: 43 replies

Sep 27th 2013 at 5:39:41 AM

I think this is a specific form of The Reveal and maybe it should say so. Most of the examples describe it as a reveal. Maybe the broader idea behind this is not that the Big Bang was engineered by scientists but that it was engineered at all by people relevant to the story (which makes it a reveal).

Sep 27th 2013 at 6:43:08 AM

I'd recommend to rewrite the laconic from an Example As Thesis to something like "In-universe revelation of the Big Bang's nature."

  • In Gods Debris, the event known as the Big Bang was actually God killing Himself to experience the only thing He hasn't yet known—His own death. The entire post-BB universe is actually the eponymous debris of God, i.e. matter and probability.

Sep 27th 2013 at 8:50:18 AM

Applied Phlebotinum is not a good name to begin with. Really, who could tell you what that means without context, as opposed to say Plot Device or Muscles Are Meaningless? I would rather not see that name be snow cloned (also a bad term but I suppose baby steps are better than none at all)

Sep 27th 2013 at 9:10:19 AM

^ It's just that when I posted it, I had Phlebotinum Killed The Dinosaurs in mind.

Sep 27th 2013 at 2:52:58 PM

Soul Music: The first thing ever heard in the universe was "One. Two. One, two, three, four." and then the big bang happened, thanks to "Music with Rocks In", the main theme of the book the music is alive, and wants to be played, no matter the cost to the player. This is in contradiction to earlier books, but Discworld is famously loose with its origin stories.

Sep 27th 2013 at 5:56:56 PM

  • Family Guy:
    • In one Cutaway Gag the entire universe was the result of one of God's farts which He set on fire.
    • In another episode it turns out the entire universe came into existence because of an accident involving Stewie's time machine.
  • In the Marvel Comics universe the Big Bang was preceeded by a Big Crunch where a previous universe had collaped into a single entity, and it turns out Galactus is the only surviving being from that universe.

Sep 27th 2013 at 9:13:05 PM

Doctor Who: In the two-parter, The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang, the Doctor is forced to restart the entire universe after cracks in reality and timey-wimey paradoxes have made it so that everything never was, using the restoration beam from inside the Pandorica and the energy from the exploding TARDIS.

Sep 28th 2013 at 12:28:30 AM

Italicized some work titles.

Sep 29th 2013 at 12:06:55 AM

Comic Books

  • Marvel Universe. At the end of the Secret Wars II series the energy of the Beyonder was shunted out of our universe and became a Big Bang, thus creating a new universe.

May 12th 2014 at 12:52:34 PM

Religion and Mythology

  • Pandeism (the theological model into which Adams' Gods Debris and like works falls) posits this as the means by which a Creator created our Universe — it became the Big Bang (or more specifically transformed itself through the vehicle of the Big Bang), and every miracle or mystery remaining in our Universe is a consequence of its underlying nature being a now-unconscious Universe-creating mind.
  • Many ancient myths, though not having a Big Bang per se, have an ancient notion of a Universe coming from some state of primordial chaos, which initial state continues to pass repercussions down on the lives of people living thereafter.

May 12th 2014 at 8:33:12 PM

The Doctor Who example doesn't count: the Doctor was using phlebotinum to restore a previously existing universe, not causing the original big bang.

May 12th 2014 at 11:03:00 PM

  • In The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy the Jatravartid people of Viltvodle VI believe the entire Universe to have been sneezed from the nose of "The Great Green Arkleseizure"; consequently, the Jatravartids live in perpetual fear of the Coming of the Great White Handkerchief.

  • In Alan Dean Foster's Glory Lane, a god-like being commits suicide which creates another universe with another godlike being made of dark matter who commits suicide again, creating another universe and another god-like dark matter being and so-on ad infinitum.

May 13th 2014 at 1:03:41 AM

  • Added a line separating the Description and Examples sections.
  • Welcome To TV Tropes - Editing Articles
  • Italicized work name(s).

Jun 14th 2014 at 12:09:18 PM

@Generality, I don't think the Whoniverse example can be discounted. The Doctor was resetting the Universe, yes, but it's still an origin of the Universe.

Jun 21st 2014 at 11:41:42 AM

Another Asimov story, The Last Question, has a computer spending the entire life of the Universe trying to answer this question, lacking the data to do so even as it itself becomes more knowledgeable and powerful, and as man evolves, spreads throughout the Universe, and both eventually become beings of thought and merge together. In the end, the computer solves the equation and declares, "LET THERE BE LIGHT"

Jun 21st 2014 at 1:02:08 PM

Keep the Whoniverse example, it's the start of a Universe, and the old one was washed clean, so it's the only one again... just, okay?

Maybe add a point that physicists still don't have any definite answer to the Big Question, so any one of those could be true.

Jun 21st 2014 at 1:51:28 PM

The Van Vogt example is about the creation of the solar system and so is ineligible.

Jun 21st 2014 at 3:02:22 PM

In Jack Chalker's Well World series, there is allusion to the godlike Nathan Brazil having restarted the Universe several times.

Jun 21st 2014 at 7:01:36 PM

Um, again, what does separate this from Creation Myth?

Jun 21st 2014 at 9:33:58 PM

^The examples aren't in universe mythology, more commonly in universe reality.

May 9th 2017 at 5:20:12 AM

Literature

In Discworld/The Science Of Discworld, the Big Bang that created our universe was the result of the Wizards of Unseen University creating more magical energy than was healthy for them. It had to be diverted somewhere else and burnt off harmlessly, or else it would have destroyed the Discworld. HEX, the University's thinking engine, uses it to call into being a "pocket universe" which eventually coalesces and brings into being a planet called, er, "Roundworld".

  • An episode of The Big Bang Theory (The Hologram Excitation) possibly alludes to this. The two co-authors of the So D book series (Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen) are world-famous academics who are well known in US academic circles - including Caltech. This may be a case of their being better known than Pratchett to a specialised audience...

Jul 2nd 2014 at 9:40:12 AM

The Bhagavad Gita has a pandeistic occurrence of this. As Arjuna is contemplating abandoning the field of battle, the supreme god, Vishnu, manifests and reveals to Arjuna that the only reason the entire Universe exists at all is because Vishnu has become it, in order to experience existence through it (and Arjuna carrying out his duties as a warrior is not only a necessary element of that experience, but so are the deaths of everybody Arjuna will kill in battle, all part of Vishnu as well).

Jul 2nd 2014 at 12:39:28 PM

^Sounds more like a Creation Myth example to me

Oh, and apparently Creation Story exists which seems to cover this but could use some love and leans towards a religious explanation versus this one's science bent.

Jul 2nd 2014 at 10:33:06 PM

Typically in a Creation Myth the Creation itself is simply something that happened, and is not a driver (or lane-changer) of events in the story. There is no moment of "now that we know the world came from the udder of a giant cow, we must change our course of action." In the Gita, it is the revelation of the origin of the Universe — that Vishnu has become it — which compels Arjuna's later actions.

Jul 7th 2014 at 11:54:14 AM

I'd call this a subtrope of Creation Myth. Not all Creation Myths involve anything like a Big Bang, after all.

Jul 7th 2014 at 3:07:15 PM

Compare Cosmic Egg (which the Big Bang resembles).

Jul 9th 2014 at 4:11:53 PM

Back to discussing the Doctor Who example... is it too timey-wimey to be on the page?

Jul 9th 2014 at 8:25:37 PM

I don't see why it would be; it's a story-significant Big Bang, one caused by the Doctor!!

Jul 9th 2014 at 8:50:55 PM

Again, wondering about Creation Story, "A God or similar creates a world or similar. Unlike a Creation Myth, the creation is part of the actual story, not just its background."

emphasis in italics. It's related to this for sure.

Jan 10th 2015 at 10:51:26 AM

Bump again. And removed a spoiler-tagged pronoun.

Oct 30th 2016 at 1:29:00 AM

Doctor Who does have a straight example. In "Terminus", it is revealed that the Big Bang was triggered by a time-travelling space ship that was forced to dump unstable fuel into the void before going back up the timeline. The fuel exploded, triggering the Big Bang.

May 8th 2017 at 8:58:32 PM

Definitely related to Creation Story... if not already covered by that.

May 9th 2017 at 6:16:48 AM

I think there is a difference to the Creation Story, Creation Myth, and this.

In Creation Story, the creation are there for background In Creation Myth, the story is of the deliberate act of creation. In this, it's almost the punch line in two flavors.

Either the events of the Big Bang are the result of the climax of the story's events... that is, to stop the Big Bad, the heroes must induce the Big Bang or a similar event OR the origin of the Big Bang was an accident and was never intended as anything important or meaningful by the person who caused the event to happen (they may be unaware of it entirely).

I think that the phlembotomy is too narrow as one example is God lighting his fart, so I think a good rename would either be Out With A Big Bang (as this is normally an ending trope) OR Mundane Big Bang as the event is Tuesday for the person or persons who caused it.

Could do a general lump of "Gag Creation" where the creation myth is played off for humor or historical Injoke, thus allowing for Far Side jokes where God created snakes by rolling Play-do into ropes during a moment of Divine Writers Block.

May 9th 2017 at 7:07:38 AM

^ From what I've read (the description), it's not as specific as what you said. It's about a revelation of what actually created our universe. Although, then there's stuff like someone making a new universe in the story among the examples...

They're 2 different things, and it's problematic.

If you really want "Mundane/Funny Creation Story" then it could be a separate trope, not this one.

Jun 10th 2017 at 8:00:06 AM

The God lighting a Fart example is interesting, yes, inasmuch as it is not story-significant, and this trope seems more to encompass story-significant Big Bangs.

Jun 10th 2017 at 10:10:33 AM

Name is too long and doesn't make sense unless you're familiar with other trope pages. Just "Caused The Big Bang" works.

Jun 10th 2017 at 4:11:59 PM

^^ I like that name.

Jun 10th 2017 at 8:32:13 PM

Live Action TV

  • Lucifer claims that the "Big Bang" was his parents having sex. His mother seems to support that suggestion.

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